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Queens man pleads guilty to possession of counterfeit $100 bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2014

       ROCHESTER, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that O’Neal Walker, 33, of Queens, N.Y., pleaded guilty to possession of counterfeit bank notes before U.S. District Court Judge Frank P. Geraci. The charge carries a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. 

                Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, who is handling the case, stated that on September 22, 2013, New York State Troopers stopped a vehicle driven by the defendant on Interstate 390 in the town of Wayland in Steuben County. Walker was driving 102 mph in a 65 mph zone and had no valid driver’s license. Following the defendant’s arrest, troopers located $8,700 in $100 bank notes inside the car along with a financial ledger book. Inside the ledger were columns which showed dollar amounts and abbreviations for retail locations. The New York State Police contacted the United States Secret Service for investigative assistance.

Secret Service Agents determined that the 87 $100 bills recovered were actually sophisticated counterfeit bills, complete with water marks, color shifting ink, and embedded security strips. They further determined that the ledger notations were references to Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and Wal-Mart stores. As part of the investigation, Secret Service Agents reviewed store surveillance video from the dates and times of the transactions listed in the ledger. The defendant was identified on video at several area stores passing counterfeit $100 bank notes. Subsequent investigation determined that Walker had passed an additional $14,100 in counterfeit $100 bank notes within the Western District of New York. At the time the defendant passed the counterfeit bills here, he was on pre-trial release for similar conduct in the State of Ohio.

As part of the investigation, Secret Service Agents learned that Walker was also identified passing counterfeit $100 bank notes in several other states. Specifically, the defendant was identified passing $2,000 in counterfeit $100 bank notes in Ohio; $600 in counterfeit $100 bank notes in Massachusetts; $13,500 in counterfeit $100 bank notes in Syracuse, within the Northern District of New York; $19,700 in counterfeit $100 bank notes in Michigan; and $6,800 in counterfeit $100 bank notes in Arkansas. The total loss due to Walker’s actions was $65,300. 

               The guilty plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the United States Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge, Tracy Gast, and Investigators and Troopers of the New York State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico.

                The defendant was originally released in January 2014, but was remanded to custody after violating conditions of his pre-trial release. Walker remains in federal custody until his sentencing which is scheduled for July 10, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. before Judge Geraci.